Preventive Care Visits at Generations Family Practice

Monday, 21 May, 2018

In this day and age of higher health insurance premiums with reduced benefits, it's important for patients to be informed consumers. With the onslaught of the HSA came higher costs to patients and an inkling of the real cost of healthcare.

It's important for patients to understand the difference between preventive care (i.e. a physical) and a regular office visit. Many HSA plans will cover a patient's preventive care in full, while regular office visits are subject to deductible.  What does this mean for the patient? You are entitled to a comprehensive medical exam and screening blood work. Unfortunately, given the higher costs to patients we oftentimes find patients schedule their physicals, but come in with a list of maladies. Time allotted for a yearly exam does not allow for the addition of sinus infections, abdominal pain, severe headaches, et cetera.

When issues arise during the course of the physical exam, or if the patient raises specific complaints in addition to the physical, this can result in an additional office visit charge.

In reviewing your lab results your provider may notice abnormal values, which may require further treatment or office visits. These cannot be viewed as an extension of your physical.

I liken this to six month check-ups at the dentist. While preventive care may be covered at 100%, any cavities or treatments required would fall outside the realm of preventive medicine.

I feel the pain of the costs of healthcare myself and empathize with many people less fortunate than myself. If you have any questions about the costs or the difference between a physical and an office visit, please do not hesitate to call and ask. We are here to help, but we are not able to retroactively change a visit type after the fact, so please ask beforehand if you are not sure.

Jennifer Sethi, Office Manager

Be of good cheer! Ways to beat those holiday blues

Monday, 21 May, 2018

With all the fall and winter holidays one after the other, the sight of all the changing decorations remind us that time is passing quickly. For many of us, the season of comfort and joy truly is that. But for many others, feeling sad during this time period is common. For many people, this time that others see as cheerful reminds us of sad events or losses from our childhoods, with our parents or grandparents, or the fantasy family we never had. And for everyone, during the last two months of the year, we all experience heightened stress due to money issues, lost love ones and unrealistic expectations magnified by the media surge.

To put some “comfort and joy” into your fall and winter, consider these tips:

Spend just the right amount of time with people you love. Many of us come from complicated families. Though we love them, visits with some of them can be stressful. If this is true for you, limit the amount of time for visits. All-day celebrations can be cut down to two hours. Or, you can visit those relatives at other times during the year when you feel less pressured by the season. Send those people cards, with the suggestion to get together another time.

Set financial goals. Your love for your family cannot be measured in dollars. If you cannot spend a lot on gifts due to your budget, don’t feel guilty. Spending more than you plan will make you feel guilty and stressed later. So instead, you may want to consider just sending a card with a nice note to some relatives. If you do give gifts, be sure to set a realistic budget and stick to it. Also, many families pick the names of just one relative, so each person only buys one gift. For a real twist on giving, get everybody on board to do a white elephant gift exchange. Or shop in consignment shops for beautiful presents that might even be new. Recycle gifts that you receive if they are sitting on your shelf, make cookies or a cake, or buy smaller specialty items like real maple syrup, which is always appreciated on holiday mornings, and always a treat.

Make a schedule so you do not feel rushed. Life today is lived in speed-up mode, and we feel pressed for time. This includes almost everyone: working people, mothers with little children, and people who are primary caregivers for the elderly. This is amplified during the month of November and December due to family obligations, holiday shopping and forced social engagements. To deal with the rush, setting specific times for shopping and visiting others is essential. Block out a period of time to shop and also to visit friends and family. Last minute shopping increases your stress levels. In addition, try to limit yourself to one social obligation every other day so these events will not feel overwhelming. This will also help children and older relatives  cope with the coming and going around family events. Schedule in the most important festivities that will help you see most of your loved ones at one time. Let go of those non-essential events that have more to do with strangers.

Set realistic expectations. Don't set yourself up for failure. Take time out for yourself by arranging to see those people who make you feel loved and supported. How you spend your time during the holiday season needs to reflect your own life and its constraints. You decide what is most important to you and focus on it. Life is not a dress rehearsal - it's the real thing.

Take a look at the following websites for more helpful suggestions:
University of Maryland School of Medicine:
Psychology Today magazine: